Visualising spatial heterogeneity in glioblastoma using imaging habitats

Mueez Waqar, Petra J Van Houdt, Eline Hessen, Ka-Loh Li, Xiaoping Zhu, Alan Jackson, Mudassar Iqbal, James O'Connor, Ibrahim Djoukhadar, Uulke A van der Heide, David J Coope, Gerben R Borst

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Glioblastoma is a high-grade aggressive neoplasm characterised by significant intra-tumoral spatial heterogeneity. Personalising therapy for this tumour requires non-invasive tools to visualise its heterogeneity to monitor treatment response on a regional level. To date, efforts to characterise glioblastoma's imaging features and heterogeneity have focussed on individual imaging biomarkers, or high-throughput radiomic approaches that consider a vast number of imaging variables across the tumour as a whole. Habitat imaging is a novel approach to cancer imaging that identifies tumour regions or 'habitats' based on shared imaging characteristics, usually defined using multiple imaging biomarkers. Habitat imaging reflects the evolution of imaging biomarkers and offers spatially preserved assessment of tumour physiological processes such perfusion and cellularity. This allows for regional assessment of treatment response to facilitate personalised therapy. In this review, we explore different methodologies to derive imaging habitats in glioblastoma, strategies to overcome its technical challenges, contrast experiences to other cancers, and describe potential clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1037896
Pages (from-to)1037896
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2022


  • MRI
  • biomarker
  • glioblastoma
  • habitats
  • heterogeneity
  • imaging
  • preoperative


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